Harms Column: We Should Be Able To Have A Thoughtful Discussion About Oil Safety


I’d like to clarify and elaborate on my personal comments on the oil industry that might encourage some thoughtful discussion in our state.

Rob missed a couple of key facts related to my resume. I grew up in the oil industry. I’ve worked in it much of my life; have rough-necked, pipelined and lobbied for the industry. During the 11 years I was in the Governor’s office, I advocated for policies favorable to the industry—and most recently advocated for policies to help launch the “Bakken.” I’ve also spent 30 years promoting fiscally conservative policies in ND.

We aren’t faced with one of two choices: either the status quo or shut down the oil industry. The event in Casselton should give us pause to have thoughtful discussions. Those sentiments are common in North Dakota. At the same time, no one wants to shut down the industry that has done so much for ND and the country. We should be able to evaluate practices and policies to make for a better, safer, future for everyone going forward. We should be able to have those kinds of thoughtful conversations without sending everyone into a tizzy. Good grief.

North Dakota is in a perfect position to promote practices and policies providing long-term stability, growth, and economic vitality brought by Bakken oil development. I look forward to helping with that effort.